Why I don’t like Economics

I finally figured out why I don’t like economics. Sure you can do some interesting things with economics, but the entire focus is to objectify human behavior.

Objectivity is something that we like to think is a good thing. And sometimes it is good. But, we should not be objective about people and their behavior, or we risk objectifying them.

Objectification is, essentially, de-humanization. When we reduce people to rational beings who act in their own best interest (as many armchair economists do), this is de-humanizing. The human experience is a subjective experience. Joe Gregario showed this recently as he described Mark and Dora’s wedding: Those are the facts. And if life was just composed of facts, then that would be all to tell of the wedding.

But, we aren’t rational actors. We’re stupid, clumsy, illogical, loving people. We may often act in ways that can be explained and understood rationally, but, then, just as often, we don’t. And this is a good thing. Because the essence of the subjective human experience is creativity.

Creativity does not exist in a completely rational world. It is often inconsistent with reason. If creativity were reasonable, it would be unexceptional, but the reason we love and reward it is because creativity is exceptional. Creativity allows us to do new things, it opens new doors, it forges new paths. Creativity is entirely subjective.

Economics cannot capture or explain the subjective essence of humanity. I’m sure many economists recognize this. But it seems that whenever I hear someone explaining the economic forces that produce this or that, they miss the entirely subjective nature of humanity. They’ve tried to reduce the essence of humanity to something that can be understood objectively, rationally. And they’ll end up failing.

(For more along this line of thinking, see Nicolai Berdyaev. He’s much better at explaining this stuff than me.)

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